facebook pixel

What Is My Surf Level?

This post will give you an idea of what your skill level is out in the surf and what you need to be able to do, to progress to the next level.
02 October, 2020
Kerri Jekyll

Get Wet Surf School’s surf programs are designed to accelerate your surf progression, whether you are a beginner, experienced beginner, or an intermediate surfer to give you more personalized feedback and advice. Before you start your program it is important for you to identify what level surfer you are, it’s not as simple as how many lessons you have previously done as everyone progresses at a different rate.  You may have been taking lessons with a mate, done a beginner class with another surf school or never tried before, but until we get you in the water we can’t really tell- this will give you a guide to where you are at.

Surfing can be a little tricky to start off with, but when you start paddling “out the back” and catching your own “green waves” you will be obsessed and shredding in no time. The learning process to surf is different for each individual, everyone progresses at a different rate of pace. So, we’ve come up with a program that helps tailor each lesson to each person’s surfing ability, whether you’ve never surfed before or tried only a few times, whether you’ve started catching and surfing “green waves” by yourself, whether you can surf along the wave left and right. Our dedicated crew will help guide you through your surf journey. This blog will give you an idea of what your skill level is out in the surf and what you need to be able to do, to progress to the next level.

BEGINNER (Lesson 1 Whitewash)

Do you know the right surfboard to learn on?

Knowing the right type of board to start surfing on will allow you to progress faster and easier. It’s about having the right length, width, thickness and volume. As a beginner, you want a board with a lot of length, width, thickness and volume. This board will help you paddle faster, catch waves more easily and give you more stability in the water.

Do you know the best surf conditions to learn/progress in?

Surf conditions are always changing, not one wave is the same. Knowing the right surf conditions to learn in will help you progress in a safer environment. Elements such as swell, wind and tide directly affect the conditions you surf in. Different surf spots require certain conditions to make the surf enjoyable. For example, at the Spit, favourable conditions would be, light north westerly wind, 1-2-foot swell and a mid-tide. Our favourite website to read surf conditions is CoastalWatch.com, which gives a daily report, 5-day forecast and a surf-cam for your favourite surf spots.

Do you have the correct paddle technique?

Having a good paddle technique means having a minimal resistance or drag by you and your board, as well as being able to maximise the propulsion of your paddle. To do this, you must have the correct positioning on your surfboard and a proper paddling technique.

Do you know how to ‘pop up’ for a take-off?

There are three stages of taking off on a wave. The first way is the 4-step technique, using your knee, which is a slow and steady way to stand up. Next, is the 2-step, which is a bit faster, no longer using your knee and just planting your back foot then your front foot to stand up. The final technique is the pop-up, popping straight to your feet to stand up. You will see most experienced surfers doing this technique.

Surfing on Whitewater


Do you know how to Push Through the Waves?

Starting to catch green waves? First you must be able to pass through the break (white-wash waves) to be able to catch the green waves out the back. Pushing through or ‘turtle rolling’ is the best method to get passed the whitewash on a big surfboard. There are three things to keep in mind to push through the break, first wait until the set of waves have passed and the ocean looks calmer to begin paddling. Secondly, you need speed, make sure the nose of your surfboard is directly facing the whitewash and paddle hard towards the whitewash to give yourself more control when pushing through the wave. Thirdly, when the whitewash is 2 metres from you, grab the rails of the surfboard and push up, to allow the white water to pass between you and the surfboard.

Do you know how to Find & Catch Unbroken Waves?

To be able to position yourself to catch an unbroken wave, you must be able to understand each of the 4 stages of a wave. You need to know where to wait out the back for an unbroken wave and when to start paddling for it, making sure your looking over your shoulder when paddling for the unbroken wave. You need to paddle with long, strong and deep strokes, making sure you have the correct positioning on your surfboard, the nose of the surfboard should be out of the water by about 5 centimetres. You paddle speed should gradually become faster and faster as the wave surges closer and closer toward you. You should then pop up on your surfboard at the top 2/3rds of the wave’s height.

Push Through

BEGINNER / INTERMEDIATE (Lesson 3 Passing the Break- if conditions favourable)

Do you know how to read waves?

Is it going to be a ‘Right’, a ‘Left’ or a ‘Closeout’? Being able to read how the waves break will help you with your wave selection, positioning and paddle direction to catch the wave. Facing toward the ocean, a ‘Right’ is a wave that breaks from right to left, a ‘Left’ is a wave that breaks from left to right, a ‘Closeout’ is a wave that breaks all at once. As you become more familiar with reading the waves, you will know how to angle your paddle direction and take-off to surf left or right along the wave. Also, a bit of surfing etiquette, make sure you don’t ‘drop in’ on other surfers.


Do you know how and when to ‘Trim’ or ‘Carve’?

Knowing how to adjust your weight distribution of your feet on the surfboard will allow to be able to trim or carve along the wave. For example: to slow down, put more weight on your back foot and to accelerate, put more weight on your front foot. Carving means performing sharp turns along the wave, putting more pressure on your back foot and slightly lifting the nose to pivot the surfboard using the rails and fins. Cutbacks, Top and Bottom turns are all carving manoeuvres. Trimming involves slightly leaning your body, putting a bit of weight on either your heels or toes, allowing you to control your speed by going higher or lower along the face of the wave. Keep in mind, “Lead with your head” Where you look and direct your head and shoulders is where you will go when performing manoeuvres along the wave.

I hope this guide helps you to see where you are at with your surfing and what you need to learn to progress your skill level in the surf. So, if you are ready to start shredding out there, give us a call at 1800 GET WET or go to website www.getwetsurf.com and book yourself in to get started in our new surf program.

See you out there!

What is my surfing level? Get Wet Surf School

You May Also Like

The top 10 things to do on the Gold Coast for school holidays!

The top 10 things to do on the Gold Coast for school holidays!

The Gold Coast is one of the best places to escape to for Queenslanders and Australians alike. From the rainforest to the beach to the local cuisine, there are so many things to do and experience in the region. We have taken the guessing game out for you, and rounded...

How do I stay fit for surfing when I can’t go to a beach? 

How do I stay fit for surfing when I can’t go to a beach? 

Whether you live far from a beach or the conditions are below par, we don’t always have access to a place to surf. So how do we maintain the strength and fitness required for surfing, or perhaps even improve? There are so many ways we can keep up our fitness levels...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Kerri Jekyll

Kerri Jekyll

Kerri is the Owner and General Manager of Get Wet Surf on the Gold Coast. She has been running Get Wet Surf for 15 years and there isn't much about surfing she doesn't know!


Blog Categories


What do our Customers Think?

 634 Reviews | #1 of 57 on the Gold Coast, Australia

I had such a good time. This was my first time trying to surf and the instructor was very helpful and knowledgeable. It was a lot of fun and i look forward to coming back!


Toronto, CN

Had an absolute blast with Get Wet! Had never been on a board before, and they built me up with so much confidence, I didn't want to get off! Great atmosphere, friendly staff!


Brisbane, AU

Trip Advisor 2022

Overall rating based on Google and Tripadvisor reviews

  • 5 Star
  • 4 Star
  • 3 Star
  • 2 Star
  • 1 Star

Can I Learn To Surf?

Download our FREE 'How To Surf' guide to find out how easy it is with Get Wet Surf on the Gold Coast!

Get Wet Guarantee

Surf Guarantee

We will guarantee to get you standing on your first lesson…or you get another lesson FREE!

Get Wet Guarantee

Premium Equipment

We use only the best quality Gold Coast Council approved surf school equipment.

Get Wet Guarantee


We provide a shuttle that links to public transport and from the centre of Surfers Paradise
When you book directly with Get Wet* conditions apply.
Get Wet Guarantee

5:1 Coaching Ratio

We offer the lowest student-to-coach ratio on the Gold Coast. This allows for a fun and safe surf lesson.

Get Wet Guarantee

Photo Packages

After your lesson you can view photos on the big screen & either purchase all, or select from our online gallery.

Get Wet Guarantee

Uncrowded Location

No high-rises in sight, learn to surf where the locals do - on uncrowded Gold Coast beaches!

Get Wet Guarantee

Award Wining Surf School

Get Wet Surf School is the proud winner of the 2015 QTIC Prize for Innovation in Tourism. 

Get Wet Guarantee

Qualified Coaches

Get Wet Surf School’s instructors are all fully qualified surf lifesavers and certified to Surfing Australia standards.

Pin It on Pinterest